Men and Sperm Health
Men – What You Do On A Daily Basis Affects Your Sperm Maturation Process
While a woman is born with all the eggs she’ll ever have, men produce sperm on a continual basis. Therefore, what a man does on a daily basis can affect the sperm maturation process.
Smoking, drinking, drugs, stress, poor nutrition and lack of exercise all can contribute to poor sperm quality. And, it was recently discovered, a man’s sperm quality begins to decline around the age of 25.
There are five main factors that contribute to overall sperm quality. They include sperm motility, speed, count, concentration and morphology (shape and size).
A weakness in any of these areas can affect the chances of conception.
Sperm motility is a term that describes sperm’s ability to move in an active fashion: in other words, are the sperm “strong swimmers?” In healthy sperm, typically more than 50% are active with over 25% moving forcefully in one direction. Motility enables the sperm to travel through the cervical canal, into the uterus and the fallopian tubes and, finally, to penetrate the egg.
The forward movement of sperm called progressive motility, forward progression or rapid linear progression. There are also several different ways to classify forward movement.
According to the World Health Organization (1999), in a healthy male, greater than 25% of sperm will exhibit progressive motility. It is thought that these are the sperm with the best chance of successfully fertilizing an egg.
Rapid linear progression showed a greater than 60 % improvement after four months of treatment with acupuncture, herbal medicine and supplements.
Sperm count refers to the number of sperm in the fluid that is ejaculated (semen). There are over 40 million sperm in a normal ejaculate. A total count below 40 million may indicate decreased fertility.
With the Berkley Center’s unique protocol of acupuncture, herbal medicine and supplements, count increased more than 14 % after four months of treatment.
Concentration is a measure of the number of sperm cells in a milliliter of semen. Normal concentration is at least 20 million sperm cells per milliliter of semen.
With the Berkley Center’s unique protocol combining acupuncture, herbal medicine and the appropriate supplements, concentration improved after four months of treatment.
Morphology (shape and size)
A healthy sperm cell will have a shape similar to a tadpole. The sperm’s oval head contains the genetic material, the center provides energy and the tail propels the sperm forward.
Using the strict criteria put forth by the World Health Organization (1999), studies of Assisted Reproductive Technology programs show lower pregnancy rates with less than 15% normal forms. Furthermore, experts believe that abnormally shaped sperm cannot fertilize an egg.
The term, subfertility, refers to couples that are unable to achieve conception after a year of unprotected intercourse (or 6 months if the woman is over age 35). It is different from infertility. A subfertile couple merely has lower odds of conceiving during any given month than fertile couples.
Statistics at a glance
Human reproduction is surprisingly inefficient and quite complex — the likelihood of pregnancy within any given month is believed to be only 25 percent among fertile couples.
1 out of 12 couples have subfertility.
Male-related factors account for 40 percent of subfertility. Female-related factors account for another 40 percent and a combination of male- and female-related factors account for about 20 percent.
About 90% of all subfertility can be traced to specific causes that can be treated.
Typical causes of male subfertility
Sperm production problems
Blockages in the sperm’s delivery system
Injuries to the testicles
Low or high hormone production
Varicocele (varicose veins around the testicle)
Past illnesses/infections/various diseases
Sperm quality is a contributing factor for 40 percent of couples experiencing infertility. There are five main factors that contribute to sperm quality:
Motility: The ability to move in an active fashion. In healthy sperm, typically more than 50% are active with over 25% moving forcefully in one direction. Motility is what enables a sperm to travel up the cervical canal, into the uterus and the fallopian tubes and, finally, penetrate the egg.
Speed: Progressive motility. In a healthy male, greater than 25% of sperm will exhibit progressive motility. It is thought that these are the sperm with the best chance of successfully fertilizing an egg.
Count: The number of sperm in the fluid that is ejaculated (semen). There are over 40 million sperm in a normal ejaculate. A total count below 40 million may indicate decreased fertility.
Concentration: A measure of the number of sperm cells in a milliliter of se